Welcoming Katie Daniels to Otomys

Otomys is thrilled to ananounce the representation of Melbourne-based artist Katie Daniels. Daniels is a contemporary landscape painter who re-frames the Australian landscape through a palette of vibrant and surreal colours. The artist captures the essence of the landscape, focusing on the energy, mood and experience of a place.


OTOMYS: Last year you made a trip to the fern-covered town of Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges. What draws you to this landscape and what is your research process for your Australian landscape paintings?


Katie Daniels: I was inspired to make a series of paintings that paid homage to the beautiful and ancient tree ferns that thrive out Olinda Way. I wanted to capture the primordial presence of this untouched landscape. I was able to stay at the Jacky Winter Lodge, which is nested in the dense forests of Belgrave, immersing myself in the lush trees and verdant foliage that surrounds the property. I enjoyed developing a visual language that articulated the various tree ferns and intriguing imagery of this natural world. 


During my stay I went on many walks and hikes, taking numerous photos as I journeyed through the forest. I feel the need to capture multiple views of my subject, recording different angles, perspectives and lights. I’ve learnt from past experiences the importance of taking multiple reference photos, as a single image can be restrictive when translating my experience onto the canvas.


OTOMYS: Your largely monochromatic paintings are painted in the most extraordinary colours; an otherworldly palette of magenta, violet, crimson and ultramarine light up the canvas. Can you tell us more about your “colour stories” and the narrative that your palette communicates? 


Katie Daniels: For me, colour is a deeply intuitive process that evolves as I complete a painting. The tone and energy of a painting can shift drastically as I develop a painting, often starting from my initial colour palette and intentions for the artwork. The painting will always tell me what it needs, guiding my palette, forms and tone. One of the hardest paintings in this series was the one featuring a window sill. I ruminated on the colours of the window frame for a long time before committing to a colour story. The greens were already such vivid hues, the window couldn’t be realistic, but it also needed to ground the painting in a successful way. 


OTOMYS: You have previously discussed the role of “the beloved” within your practice. As an Australian artist, what part of the landscape is your most ‘beloved’ and why?


I have always been drawn to the mystery of a windy creek or curvy path that disappears into the trees. For me these scenes are imbued with such narrative and magic, as we are left to wonder what lies beyond these paths. Within my paintings I like to create the impression that the viewer is moving through the landscape - that there is a journey that extends beyond the canvas. The landscape is such a dynamic and visceral source of inspiration; every time I venture outside I am greeted with a new experience. Light, weather, time, growth and decay constantly work to create a new impression with every moment. I am besotted by the ephemeral feelings and sensations of the landscape. 


OTOMYS: You have commissioned a series of incredible coloured frames for this new body of work that will be exhibited at Otomys contemporary art gallery. Can you explain the significance of these frames and their colours?


Katie Daniels: For this new body of work I wanted to explore the different ways I could push the boundaries of framing. For me, using vivid colours that echoed the palette of the paintings connected the frame with the subject. It also works to draw the viewers attention to a particular element within the painting. For example, the frame colour will be drawn from a focal tree or a pocket of the sky within the painting, allowing that colour to become more present. The bright colours of the frames are also intended to bring an additional element of joy and vibrancy. 

March 29, 2023